During this Easter season, we are reminded of how faithful God is and how fickle we are. From the beginning of time, God has always been ready to help his fallen creation. He was even gracious and loving in giving us a free will. He did not want mindless minions, but rather He wanted to fellowship with those who have freely chosen to fellowship with Him. His heart must have been breaking when Adam sinned, and we sinned in Adam.
But God was there ready to forgive, and ready to make a way back to Him. His faithfulness and mercy is not incompatible with His justice and his holiness. It is right that God should hold His judgment until the time is right for it. In being long-suffering toward our sin, he is exercising his faithfulness to us as well. Tozer reminded us,
All of God’s acts are consistent with all of His attributes. No attribute contradicts the other, but all harmonize and blend into each other in the infinite abyss of the Godhead. All that God does agrees with all that God is and being and doing are one in Him. The familiar picture of God as often torn between His justice and His mercy is altogether false to the facts. To think of God as inclining first toward one and then toward another of His attributes is to imagine a God who is unsure of Himself, frustrated and emotionally unstable, which of course is to say that the one of whom we are thinking is not the true God at all but a weak, mental reflection of Him badly out of focus.1
We human beings, on the other hand, are weak and capitulating to our emotions. On Palm Sunday, the day of the Triumphal Entry, the people clamored to see Jesus. They excitedly welcomed Him into Jerusalem hoping for a new era of freedom and victory for the Hebrew nation. By that time, though, the offer of the Kingdom had already been rejected. They wanted all of the benefits of Jesus’ coming, but not the changed heart and devotion to Him. So within that week, those same people were swayed to reject Jesus openly and call for His crucifixion. How double-minded and unstable we are. How faithless!
Even so, Jesus went to the cross and gave Himself as a sacrifice for sinful man. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We had been unfaithful all along, but He was still faithful to us, even to the death on the cross (Phil. 2:8). The good news is that through His faithfulness and love to us, we can accept that free gift of a changed heart! Once we believe, He begins to change us. He is faithfully renewing our minds and making our heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Rom. 12:1-2; Ez. 11:19).
Each day I sin and fail. My pride and sinfulness is always pushing me away from my heavenly Father. Each morning, His mercies are new and I begin again (Lam 3:22-23). Like a little toddler, I reach up to hold his hand to steady me, but then I let go wanting to do it myself. That’s when I inevitably fall. But when I turn to Jesus in repentance, He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!2
1. Tozer, A.W. (2012-08-12). The Knowledge of the Holy (Kindle Locations 1158-1160). Fig. Kindle Edition.
2. “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (No. 40) in Great Hymns of the Faith . Grand Rapids, MI. Singspiration Music, 1976.